New EV Will Join An Electric Crossover Crowd
BMW kicked off the Beijing Motor Show last week with two announcements. The company unveiled a concept version of the forthcoming iX3 battery-electric crossover SUV. The other announcement is that the iX3 will begin production in 2020 at BMW’s joint-venture production plant in Northern China.
Following Cadillac’s move to import the CT6 PHEV from China, BMW will become the second major luxury carmaker to ship electric vehicles to the U.S. from China.
New Electric Drivetrain
The iX3 debuts the fifth generation of BMW’s eDrive technology, which is a system that groups together the electric motor, transmission and power electronics within a new, separate electric drive component. Of note, the electric motor was designed without using any rare-earth metals. BMW says the motor produces a healthy 268 horsepower, which is 20 horsepower more than the standard turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder X3.
Juice for the motor is supplied by new SUV-sized battery cells that the German automaker has been working on, enabling a promised range for the 70-kilowatt-hour pack of 249 miles on the harmonized Worldwide Light-vehicles Test Cycles (WLTC). This test cycle is close to the EPA’s ratings.
The iX3 also has a fast-charging unit onboard, allowing the car to fully charge its battery in 30 minutes when connected to a DC fast-charging station.
Also, this is the first vehicle to use BMW’s new flexible chassis architecture, built for front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive cars. It’s designed so all future BMWs can be easily modified to accept different types of drive systems, whether they be gas-powered, hybrid, or all-electric.
Standard Two-Box Design
Styling is what you would expect of an electrified version of the current X3. It has a similar
two-box shape, but with a few more futuristic and unusual design details. Identifying features of the Concept iX3 include a closed-off BMW twin-kidney grill with familiar BMW i car graphic as well as BMW i Blue accents around the kidney and around the badge logo at the front and along the side skirts. This is the first BMW grill in years not to have separated kidneys.
It has also been fitted with light alloy wheels that have been designed with an aerodynamically optimized design to improve the car’s range.
While this is just a concept, it looks almost production-ready.
When it arrives, the production iX3 will battle it out in a suddenly growing crop of premium crossover SUVs that will include the almost-here Jaguar i-Pace, Audi Q6 E-Tron, Volvo Polestar 3 and Mercedes-Benz EQC. It is expected to cost less than Tesla’s Model X, currently the only all-electric luxury SUV on the market.
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